Album Review: Kedr Livanskiy – Liminal Soul

[2MR; 2021]

Hailing from Moscow, Kedr Livanskiy is one of Russia’s loudest voices, calling out from the underground electronic scene. As suggested by the title, her new record Liminal Soul falls into a character of music that only requires emotional understanding, not literal or philosphical.

Like the producer’s previous work, Liminal Soul paints a cold, solitary soundscape with synths that are textured like snow. Livanskiy also layers it with techno beats, bringing motion to the picture, making it feel like dancing through a blizzard with all of one’s feelings exposed. Through her Russian and English lyricism, she tries to bring images to the listener’s mind that harmonise with the winter landscapes that the music creates, as opposed to conveying fully-formed thoughts.

Liminal Soul follows a similar sound to Livansky’s previous works, but with slight variations on her signature sound. Certain elements on this album that are reminiscent of another Russian electronic act IC3PEAK, most notably her vocal production. This is most noticeable on “Night”, her collaboration with fellow Russian musician Synecdoche Montauk, which is both surprising and at the same time make perfect sense. Synecdoche Montauk’s voice sits somewhere between Sufjan Stevens and James Blake and his style blends with Livansky’s beautifully.

Aside from that, Liminal Soul does not provide the listener with much novelty or further development of the artist’s sound. However, would saying that not also be a rationalization? Just because a record does not go above and beyond our subjective expectations it does not mean that it does not deserve to be praised if it evokes emotion. Liminal Soul is still malleable and impressionistic enough to bring different sensations, especially if listened to in different settings, from urban to rural.

Kedr Livanskiy’s remains one of the most recognisable names and sounds in Russian electronic music, but Liminal Soul‘s likeness to work by others in her country does make it a bit blander than what her fans would expect. Nonetheless, the signature feelings of coldness and solitude, among many other sensations, are still very much present on the record.